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June 2024: Tweed’s message of congratulations on Obambo Piped Water Extension Project opening

The SIBO Obambo Piped water Extension Project opening ceremony was held in late June 2024.

The project saw the laying of a 7 km water pipeline bringing water to more than 18,000 people in the Obambo area of western Kenya.

General Manager Troy Green submitted the following on behalf of the Tweed Shire Council and Tweed Kenya Mentoring Program.

The following is a message from the General Manager, Tweed Shire Council – Mr Troy Green.

It is with great pleasure that I greet those members of the Siaya community gathered here today on the occasion of the opening of the SIBO water pipeline extension project.

On behalf of the people of the Tweed Shire, our Mayor, Councillor Chris Cherry, the members of our Tweed Kenya Mentoring Program steering committee, Chair Tom Alletson and staff contributors to the Tweed Kenya Mentoring Program, I convey our warm regards and sincere congratulations for the wonderful community effort that has led to the completion of this water pipeline extension.

There are many of us from the Tweed Shire who are very proud of the outcome that has been achieved through this project.

The Tweed Kenya Mentoring Program, led by Mr Olita, has been working on water issues within the Siaya locality since 2007.

The issues of limited access to safe water in Siaya were first bought to our attention by Mr Olita at a time when we gained access to the filter technology that has been used in the Tinga, Manyasi, Gona and Ochillo safe water kiosks.

A number of people here at Tweed Shire Council believed we should take the chance to use our expertise and resources to assist your communities in their quest for safe water.

The members of TKMP here in Australia always knew that we were making a small contribution to a very large problem, and we knew that the Safewater Kiosks and sky hydrant filters would not last forever.

But we believed that by starting the journey toward a better water future, you the people of Siaya would gain momentum, and find your own way to more sustainable and reliable, safe water access.

While we live a long way apart, our people’s lives are linked by our reliance on water, and the ceaseless effort that we must apply to maintain a safe and secure supply.

I wish to thank and congratulate all the of the people who have worked on this project and made it a success.

This includes the Member of the County Assembly, Mr David Ragen MCA, the Managing Director of SIBO, Mr Adipo, Area Chief Mr. Peter Ouma, and Area Assist Chief Mme Carmen Ayugi.

I acknowledge and thank all of the project engineers and staff who undertook design, budget estimation and construction supervision for the pipeline, and the technicians who have fitted valves and meters.

I wish to thank and acknowledge all of the village elders who have assisted with the project, and members of the the Obambo Community, Tinga and Gona SW committees who have supported both the long-term operation of the TKMP Safewater Kiosks, and the development of this new project model. 

We in Australia know that the project would not have been possible without strong community support, as well as the technical oversight by our colleagues within the County Government and SIBO.

I particularly acknowledge and encourage all young people who have shown interest in the pipeline project, and I urge you to follow up on your commitment to water, be it as a career in science, engineering or health, or as a leader within society.

I also thank and acknowledge all of the local people who have worked on the project, either by excavating the line and laying pipe or allowing access through their land.

All of this work has been essential, and we believe that the deep involvement of your community will lead to a strong sense of ownership and commitment to maintenance of the pipeline, and the water it delivers.

Here in Tweed Shire, I thank and acknowledge Mr Mike Rayner, former-General Manager of Tweed Shire Council, who in 2003 founded the Tweed Kenya Mentoring Program after a chance meeting with Mr Olita.

These 2 men shared a passion for people's well-being and water, and thus from a very simple beginning, with their inspiration, we have achieved a project that will see piped water available for the first time, to many 1000s of people in the pipeline area.

In Australia, TKMP has been funded by many Tweed Shire Council staff who have made a small regular contribution from their wages, into our project budget.

Many of our contributors have been making this donation for as long as 16 years, and we are all very proud of what we have achieved.

In addition to this, we have been blessed with the support of very generous donors by the name of Alec and Mary Peden and the Thiess Family.

Their annual financial contributions to TKMP, and in particular, sizeable contributions directly to this project, have been absolutely critical in it becoming a reality.

In addition, throughout the years that TKMP has existed, we have been helped immeasurably by the International River Foundation, who have provided our legal status.

Without this organisations profile and legitimacy, TKMP would not have gained a life of it’s own, or the results that you see here today.

We have also been supported by Health Organisation of Kenya, Sky Juice Foundation, Triangle Waterquip and local Australian community groups such as Rotary, sporting clubs and other individuals making one off or multiple donations.

Early in the life of the Tweed Kenya Mentoring Program, we realised that at its heart was the concept of a relationship between our two communities, and that this relationship grew around a shared understanding of the need for our families to be able to access safe water.

At the centre of this relationship has always been our water champion – Mr Olita Ogonjo.  Without Olita, TKMP could not have provided water at our four Safewater Kiosks for the last 16 years, could not have de-silted Gona and Tinga Dams, could not have installed rainwater tanks or toilets at any of the local schools, and certainly could not have planned and funded a water pipeline project to serve 1000s of people within this district.

Olita has shown bravery, compassion, skill, diligence, patience and great tenacity in all of his years with TKMP, and none more so than in recent months as he delivered this project, while at the same time mourned the loss of his beloved daughter Renee.

I hope you will all join with me in acknowledging Olita’s immense contribution to his community over the past 16 years of TKMP operation, and in the completion of this valuable project. Olita, please accept our deep and sincere gratitude for your effort.

As General Manager of Tweed Shire Council, and an integral member of the TKMP team for many years, it is with great pride and optimism that I once again congratulate this community for its work on the water pipeline.

 I wish you all every success in the long-term management, and continued expansion and improvement of water access in this region.

Yours faithfully

Troy Green
General Manager
Tweed Shire Council


View the photos and videos from the 2024 piped water extension opening.

June 2024: Bringing piped water to Kenyan communities

Obambo piped water project

The Obambo piped water project is bringing fresh piped water to more than 18,000 residents in western Kenya.

Over the past 12 months, the Tweed Kenya Mentoring Program (TKMP) has been planning, funding and implementing a project that achieves a permanent piped water supply for the Kenyan communities in which we have worked since 2006.

Building on 16 years of water advocacy and community capacity building, the pipeline project results in the transition of responsibility for water provision in our area of operation to the community and Kenyan Government.

The following summary from Olita Ogonjo, our Project Coordinator, describes the work undertaken since it started in January this year.

“The Obambo piped water project was finally connected to the Nyadiwa SIBO Water Company 4’ pipeline on 25 March 2024. The new Obambo pipeline will serve over 18,000 residents living within and around TKMP’s existing Safewater kiosks and will also provide water at important community sites such as the Obambo Market, Obambo Health Center and several schools.

“The main tasks completed by the team included clearing and excavating the 7 km pipeline route, laying all the HDPE pipes, backfilling the line, connecting the pipes, installing valves and connecting the new pipeline to the Nyadiwa main supply water line. We are now preparing for waterline flushing, testing and disinfection, and finally, handing the pipeline over to SIBO Water Company for long term operation and maintenance.

“TKMP has funded and arranged all the materials, labor and logistics, with the local government water agency, SIBO, providing the company’s backhoe, which was fuelled and operated with TKMP funds.

“TKMP and the project received encouraging support from area leaders including the chiefs and elders of Nyadiwa, Usenge and Obambo. The overwhelming community support for the project was a result of the foundational Water, Sanitation and Hygiene activities that TKMP had been actively carrying out in the area since 2006.

“In addition to two weeks of backhoe work, 60 local youth and women were employed to help with manual excavation of the water line trenches, as well as laying pipes and backfilling the water line.  Cash payments made to community workers ensured that project labour investment remained directly in the local economy to help with household needs such school fees, food and medicine.

“The project has created great community excitement, and many can’t wait to start using the new piped water line. It is the first time that a piped water supply has ever reached this area. We want to thank Tweed Shire Council, the Obambo community, SIBO Water Company and the Member of the County Assembly of Central Alego for ensuring that the project came to fruition.”

Development of this important water pipeline would not have been possible without the technical and financial support of TKMP.  This includes all the volunteers from the Tweed committee, all of the Council staff contributors, our generous donors Alec and Mary Peden, and the International River Foundation.